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Essay about False Perception of Equality in Society

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In Kurt Vonnegut’s story, “Harrison Bergeron,” everyone is made equal by the United States Handicapper Genera1 while the country is under totalitarian control. Handicaps are forced upon the people by the Handicapper General to create an all-equal society. The character George Bergeron is forced to stay equal by the government’s laws of equality while his wife, Hazel Bergeron, is of only average intelligence, and consequently not given a handicap. Their son, however, has broken the laws of equality and is fugitive of the United States Handicapper General. The conflict between the United States Handicapper General and the Bergeron family helps to establish and develop the theme of a false perception of equality.
George and Hazel Bergeron
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This shows that George and Hazel are not really equal because even though George no longer has an advantage over Hazel, she now has an advantage over George. She is not confined by the Handicapper General like he is, but is free to go about her day naturally, while he is confined to an inferior quality of life. This false perception of equality allows for the government to rule without obstruction or protest from their citizens because they are more intently focused on building a community that is better for all and less focused on the tyrant government that now exists in the democratic country. Their son sees this tyranny and causes heart ache for the citizen and the government. George and Hazel’s son, Harrison Bergeron, develops the theme of the false perception of equality. Harrison Bergeron knows that he is unequal and rebels against the government, so that he can take over and become Emperor: “Nobody had ever borne heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up” (1202). He is required to wear more constraining obstructions because the government is in fear of a rebellion, but even with the stronger handicaps Harrison is able to escape from prison and continue his plot to overthrow the government. As Harrison barges into the theater with all his handicaps on he
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